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Reviews for the week of August 27, 2001.

Monday:
Rat Race

Rat Race
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Rarely do movies come along where it's hard to STOP laughing. Most of the movies made these days revolve around one-liners and stupid sex jokes. With a cast of maybe one or two stars.

While Rat Race IS a remake of one of the funniest movies of all time, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World it doesn't ruin it by making it more modern, in fact it may have improved it. It has a modern feel, but has qualities most of today's movies are lacking, such as a great ensemble cast and lots of stupid physical comedy (cars flying off roads and such) that consequently sends you into hysterics.

Another thing we don't see so much in modern movies is theme songs for movies...I'm not talking about popular songs, like in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World it has it's very own theme song, that set the scene for the movie, just kind of light silly fun. You don't have to get wrapped up in some deep plot, it's just a plain old good time.

The movie revolves around a group of people racing for two million dollars. Donald Sinclaire (John Cleese), the owner of "the" hotel in Las Vegas, decides to send seven people on a race for the cash. The purpose: He and other rich men can gamble. Betting on who will win... In fact there are several scenes in the movie with them making other stupid bets (millions of dollars to try and guess what kind of chocolate a piece is).

My sole complaint about the movie is that Rowan Atkinson didn't have a big enough part. EVERY word that came out of that man's mouth sent the entire audience into laughter. He's truly a comic genius, having mastered physical AND verbal comedy (ala BlackAdder). His character is a narcoleptic Italian, who is somewhat like Mr. Bean.

Far-fetched situations (a LONE talking cow) and silly antics, this is sincerely one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. I just got home from the theater, and I can't wait to see it again.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
Clerks

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Kevin Smith's first film Clerks shows just how great of a film maker he is. The film follows the antics of two well, clerks. One for a mini-mart and one for the neighboring video store.

Don't be fooled into thinking this is just a stupid perverted film...a lot of clever dialogue is mixed in with all the vulgarity. It's truly a one-of-a-kind movie. Very enjoyable, and extremely funny. It also had a very unique style to it, I can see how it can easily become a cult film.

One thing I enjoyed about the movie was the way the lines were delivered by the characters. It seemed very natural. The lines were said right on time, not a second too late. More lifelike than a lot of films.

The entire movie is shot in black-and-white, and I'm sure you know just how extremely rare that is today. It's the last 'newer' film I've seen in black and white since 1994's Ed Wood (a VERY good film, I highly recommend it!). It's actually kind of refreshing to see black & white...it has it's advantages, such as superior lighting to color productions. Although the film is colorless, it seems quite lifelike and modern.

Clerks is really a wonderful experience that I would recommend to anyone. It's witty dialogue and unique style make it stand out from the crowd. Undoubtly Kevin Smith's best film to date.

My Rating = Three Stars

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